Risk Factors For Pharyngitis And Tonsillitis
Frequent exposure to germs is the major risk factor for getting pharyngitis and tonsillitis.
Viral and bacterial infections are spread by close contact with other people who are sick. As a result, children attending school or daycare are at risk. This is especially true during the winter months, when most viral and bacterial infections occur.
Pharyngitis And Tonsillitis In Children
Pharyngitis is the medical term for redness, pain, and swelling of the throat often referred to as a sore throat.
Tonsillitis is inflammation of the tonsils, the tissue masses on either side of the back of the throat. The tonsils are part of the immune system, the part of the body that fights infection and other disease.
Your child may have either pharyngitis, tonsillitis, or both at the same time.
While viral infections are the most common cause of pharyngitis, tonsillitis can be caused by either viral or bacterial infections. Other causes of these conditions include:
- Fungal infections, such as in those that cause a yeast infection
- Allergies, like hay fever or allergies affecting the nose
- Sinus infection
- Irritants, like cigarette smoke or air pollution
- Stomach acids in the throat
Its important to see your healthcare provider when your child has pharyngitis or tonsillitis because, left untreated, complications can develop. These include:
- Serious infections in the throat area
- Dehydration from trouble eating and drinking
- Breathing problems from very large tonsils with tonsillitis
- Untreated strep throat may lead to heart and kidney problems, middle ear infection, lung infection, or infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord.
- A sore throat, especially if it doesnt go away in a few days
- A sore throat and other symptoms, such as a fever
Other Causes For Swollen Tonsils
- Your tonsils can swell and become inflamed due to allergies.
- Sexually transmitted diseases may also cause swollen tonsils. Syphilis can cause sores in the mouth, and gonorrhea causes burning and sores.
- LPR reflux disease causes acid to back up into the throat leading to irritation, swollen tonsils, a constant need to clear ones throat, coughing, and trouble swallowing.
- Cancer in the tonsils or throat can develop due to the HPV virus.
Contact Premier Urgent Care Center if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of swollen tonsils, or if this is a chronic problem.
For further questions or to schedule a visit, please call today.
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What Are Swollen Tonsils
Your tonsils are oval-shaped soft tissue masses located on each side of your throat. Tonsils are part of the lymphatic system.
The lymphatic system helps you avoid illness and infection. Its your tonsils job to fight off viruses and bacteria that enter your mouth.
Tonsils can become infected by viruses and bacteria. When they do, they swell up. Swollen tonsils is known as tonsillitis.
Your First Protective Barrier
We dont think much about our tonsils unless we get a sore throat or some other infection. What exactly are tonsils for and are they really of any use? These two clumps of tissue in our throat actually play an important part of your immune system and act as a filter. They fight off germs and other pathogens that enter our mouth and nose.
They filter out bacteria, viruses, and debris like allergens, especially pollen and food particles. Unfortunately, and ironically, they are prone to infections.
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Other Symptoms Of Tonsillitis
In addition to swollen tonsils, its common for other symptoms to be present. Sometimes, these symptoms are noticed before a patient sees that the tonsils are swollen. Or, you might see the swollen tonsils before additional symptoms develop.
What do swollen tonsils feel like? Watch for these symptoms to see if you have tonsillitis:
- Scratchy, sore throat
- Coating or white spots visible on the tonsils
- Bad breath
Its possible that swollen tonsils without other symptoms are normal, especially in children. But if an adult has swollen tonsils with no other symptoms, then it could be an indication of cancer. When you notice that your tonsil swelling doesnt go away, then it might be time to talk to an ENT for a professional diagnosis.
Can Allergies Cause Swollen Lymph Nodes
Swollen lymph nodes are a sign that your body is fighting off an infection. Can allergies cause swollen lymph nodes too? Some people might experience this, but its not common. Instead, you are more likely to experience the symptoms listed above. If your allergies are causing swollen glands, then you may also have an infection, such as a sinus infection. These can happen while you are dealing with allergy symptoms.
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Strep Throat Is Lurking
Though its not as common in adults, strep throat is a bacterial infection that can cause swollen tonsils and inflammation, says Dr. Zalvan. Besides difficulty swallowing, you might also experience bad breath and have trouble opening your mouth.
Left untreated, bacterial tonsillitis can lead to a more complicated infection that causes pus to collect around the capsule of the tonsil. This infection may require intravenous antibiotics and a drainage procedure to remove the abscess, says Brad DeSilva, MD, otolaryngologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Because strep is sometimes associated with sinusitis, ear infections, and pneumonia, it can be hard to tell if your swollen tonsils are the victim of a viral or bacterial infection. If symptoms persist, Dr. DeSilva recommends having your doc run a rapid strep test to determine if antibiotics are needed.
Common Causes Of Swollen Tonsils
Keep in mind that swollen tonsils are often a symptom of another health condition. If tonsillitis is caused by a viral or bacterial infection, then you might be diagnosed with one of the following illnesses:
- Adenoviruses: Viruses that cause the common cold and other related conditions, such as bronchitis or a sore throat.
- Strep Throat: Streptococcus pyogenes is a bacterial infection, commonly known as strep throat. When this infection occurs, it often results in spots and swelling on the tonsils.
- Herpes Simplex: Herpes type 1 affects the mouth, with people often experiencing cold sores on the lips. Sometimes, this virus can also lead to blisters that form on the tonsils and cause swelling.
- Allergies: The immune response to allergy triggers can cause the tonsils to swell. This symptom is common in people with seasonal allergies.
- Dental Infection: Sometimes gum disease or tooth decay can cause the tonsils to swell. You might need to talk to a dentist for the treatment of these mouth infections.
- Epstein-Barr : This virus causes mononucleosis, which can have an inflammatory impact on the body. A sore throat or swollen tonsils are often a symptom associated with this disease.
- Measles: The respiratory system is affected by the measles virus, causing swelling and discomfort through the throat and airways.
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Why Choose Cooper To Treat Pharyngitis And Tonsillitis In Children
Coopers expert otolaryngologists have advanced fellowship training in diagnosing and treating the broad range of conditions that can affect the ears, nose and throat.
They have extensive experience treating routine and complex pharyngitis and tonsillitis in children, and earn consistently high marks when it comes to patient and parent satisfaction.
Should your child require a tonsillectomy, our ENT specialists have the surgical expertise to perform this procedure, with a track record of successful outcomes.
Allergens And Their Effects
Postnasal drip is the main culprit in cases of allergy-induced sore throat.
Its the result of exposure to an allergen and occurs when congestion in the nose and sinuses drains down to the throat. This causes tickling or scratchy pain.
The drainage also can cause:
- runny nose
Scratchiness is another way to determine if you have an allergy-induced sore throat.
In addition to the raw feeling that results from postnasal drainage, particles that directly enter the respiratory system can cause an itchy or scratchy feeling.
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Different Types Of Tonsillitis
You can actually suffer from one of several different types of tonsillitis. The type of tonsillitis you have can play a role in how long you suffer from the sickness and the symptoms you experience.
- Acute tonsillitis: The first type you need to worry about is acute tonsillitis. This is when tonsillitis symptoms last less than ten days. Acute tonsillitis is a less serious type of the illness. Certain treatments may still be necessary, but you can usually cure this type with home remedies and medicine.
- Chronic tonsillitis: This is when symptoms occur over a longer period of time. Because of this, seeing a doctor is completely necessary.
- Recurrent tonsillitis: This is the third and final type of tonsillitis you can suffer from. The main difference between recurrent tonsillitis and the other two types we mentioned above is that this type is a reoccurring issue you have been dealing with. Recurrent tonsillitis is defined as having it seven times in one year, more than five a year over the course of two years, or more than three times over three years.
How Long Does It Last
It can be easy to confuse tonsillitis and a common strep or sore throat, but the easy distinction is how long they both last. Tonsillitis can last over a week, while you may only suffer from a sore throat for a few days. If you do notice that you have tonsillitis for a decent amount of time, you should go see the doctor for further treatment.
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When To Seek Medical Help
Postnasal drip can be annoying, but it usually isn’t dangerous, as Harvard Medical School explains. However, there are some circumstances when you should seek medical help. See your doctor or dentist if your symptoms get worse or if they aren’t relieved by home remedies. You should also see your doctor if your sore throat is accompanied by other worrying symptoms, such as an unexplained fever or bloody mucus.
Allergy season has arrived, and while you may experience a sore throat from allergies, rest assured that there are many home remedies that can help to soothe your symptoms. If these home remedies aren’t enough, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice.
How To Avoid Tonsillitis
If youre worried about getting tonsillitis, you can follow a few methods in order to prevent this medical issue. The easiest thing you can do is wash your hands with soap and warm water, making it a habit to do so after youve touched the area around your mouth. In addition to washing your hands, you also shouldnt share anything with someone who is sick. A final way to avoid tonsillitis is to regularly replace your toothbrush every three months. By taking advantage of these methods, you decrease the risk of obtaining tonsillitis.
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Causes Of Enlarged Tonsils And Adenoids
or year-round allergies Year-Round Allergies Year-round allergies result from indoor exposure to airborne substances that are present throughout the year. The nose is congested, itchy, and sometimes runny… read more ), irritants, and, possibly, gastroesophageal reflux Gastroesophageal Reflux in Children Gastroesophageal reflux is the backward movement of food and acid from the stomach into the esophagus and sometimes into the mouth. Reflux may be caused by the infantâs position during feeding… read more also can cause the tonsils and adenoids to enlarge. Ongoing exposure to children who have bacterial or viral infections, such as children at child care centers, increases the risk of infection.
When enlarged, tonsils sometimes interfere with breathing or swallowing, and adenoids may block the nose or the eustachian tubes that connect the back of the throat to the ears. Usually, tonsils and adenoids return to normal size once the infection is over. Sometimes they remain enlarged, particularly in children who have had frequent or chronic infections. Although extremely rare, cancer sometimes causes enlarged tonsils or adenoids in children.
Soothing A Sore Throat At Home
Here are several home remedies that may help soothe a sore throat from allergies, according to Harvard Medical School:
- Stay well-hydrated to help to thin the mucus.
- Consume more hot liquids, such as chicken soup.
- Use a humidifier or inhale steam.
- Prop yourself up with a few extra pillows at night, since mucus can collect in the back of your throat when you lie flat.
There are also many over-the-counter medications available, including oral decongestants and antihistamines. Nasal decongestants may also be helpful, though Harvard Medical School cautions that they shouldn’t be used for more than one to two days. For help choosing the most appropriate product, talk to your doctor or a pharmacist.
While these steps can help soothe a sore throat from allergies, they won’t prevent future allergy symptoms. Pollen, whether from grass, trees or ragweed, is a common culprit of seasonal allergies, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, so avoiding exposure to it can help. The Mayo Clinic recommends staying indoors on dry, windy days and, if possible, keeping your doors and windows closed on days with high pollen counts. If you need to do outdoor chores, such as lawn mowing or weed pulling, wear a pollen mask.
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Symptoms To Get Checked Out
Sometimes the hardest part can be knowing when it’s more than the common cold or allergies. For a regular cold, you don’t really need a doctor and you don’t have an infection that requires treatment. So, how do you know if you have a problem with your sinuses or tonsils that is more severe than a common cold? If you have any of these symptoms, make sure you see a doctor:
- Mucus that is not clear for more than 3-5 days. Yellow or dark mucus is signs of an infection.
- Red or swollen tonsils accompanied by a sore throat for more than 3-5 days.
- Facial pain for more than 3-5 days. If you have an infection, your face might be sore to the touch.
Don’t waste time assuming you have a cold that does not require any treatment. If you leave sinusitis untreated that’s when you can have more complicated problems, as a sinus infection could affect your tonsils. If you see an ENT specialist early to treat your infection with medicines, then you should be able to prevent a more serious illness from coming your way.
Southern Cross Medical Library
The purpose of the Southern Cross Medical Library is to provide information of a general nature to help you better understand certain medical conditions. Always seek specific medical advice for treatment appropriate to you. This information is not intended to relate specifically to insurance or healthcare services provided by Southern Cross. For more articles go to the Medical Library index page.
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What Reduces Swelling In Throat
Drinking cold water and sucking on ice can help alleviate pain, and reduce swelling and inflammation of your throat. More than just keeping you hydrated, cool temperatures can also help reduce congestion. If you prefer a different kind of comfort, warm water and caffeine-free teas can also soothe your inflamed throat.
Dealing With Swollen Glands
If you have swollen lymph nodes, then you might be in pain. Ask your doctor about an over-the-counter pain or allergy medication, which can reduce your symptoms. You can also try using a warm compress on the area. While this will not reduce swelling, it might help to relieve some of the pain. Finally, monitor your symptoms so you can share them with your doctor.
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Is It Normal To Have One Swollen Tonsil
One-sided swelling Having one swollen tonsil can be an indicator of tonsil cancer. It may also be caused by something else, such as lesions on the vocal cords from overuse, postnasal drip, or a tooth abscess. If you have one swollen tonsil that doesnt go away on its own or with antibiotics, talk to your doctor.
Your Swollen Tonsil Could Potentially Be A Sign Of Cancer
Cancer is always the most concerning, and what most people are afraid of, says Dr. Zalvan. Tonsil cancers are almost always concentrated on one side, and can present with swelling and pain with no other symptoms.
If your swollen tonsil persists or gets worse over time, see your doctor ASAP.
Chronic smoking and alcohol used to be the most common cause of tonsil cancer. Now, theyre more commonly caused by the human papilloma virus , which have a far better rate of cure, Dr. Zalvan adds. This type of cancer is now completely preventable by getting the HPV vaccine.
Lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system, can also present with swollen tonsils: It can be on one or both sides, often with lumps or lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin, says Dr. Zalvan. Your doctor will complete a thorough exam to determine whats causing your swollen tonsils and map out the best course of action.
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Other Treatment Or Cure Options
There are other things that you can do so as to deal tonsillitis. The following are just some of the treatment options:
- Completely quit smoking
- Do exercise and especially a walk on a daily basis.
- Dont come into physical contact with those likely suffering from the condition.
- Ease the discomfort caused by the infection by taking some pain relieving medications.
- Eat more fruits and especially those that have high amounts of vitamin C. By this, your immune system will be boosted.
- Ensure you cover your mouth every time you cough or sneeze to avoid spreading the virus
- Further, you should avoid eating spicy and rough foods. These foods which can cause scratches in your throat. This only makes the condition worse.
- Have an adequate refreshing sleep. Power naps would work for you especially in the morning.
- Limit or reduce the caffeine rich foods like coffee and coca.
- Make sure you keep watch over the number of partners. This prevents the chances of you getting STDs.
- Soothe the inflamed gland using a warm cloth
- Take a lot of water so as keep your body hydrated.